Darkness Falls Episode 303

Aired on Mar 27, 2002.

"graveyard path / way of the gods"

s y n o p s i s

College student Alaster Reese can't find a reason to care about anyone, even himself. But he can find those responsible and make them answer for it. Tired from a life that's lived only until death takes everything away, he calls down the forces of existence to put them on trial for what they've done. But can any man pass judgement on his gods without being judged himself?

c a s t

alaster reese
brandon cecil

heather walker

meg asa
emily morelli

ryan shanara
allen dunn

jeremy derrow
julius leak

diana montero
kim ragin

joanna thibault
beth mayo

sam cone

benjamin lawson

rob manuel

ruwani opatha

virgina dozier

hannah johnson

derek hartman

rude guy
justin biggers

random girl
amy mcdonough

erica bisby, reporter
jenn skinner

rose, meg's roommate
erinn brunell

beth mayo

final avatar (director's cut)
justin biggers

voice of final avatar (director's cut)
brandon cecil

back alley victim
laura shew

justin biggers

ram cafe victim
chandler vatavuk

Written By
Justin Biggers

Directed By
Justin Biggers

Produced By
Beth Mayo

Edited By
Justin Biggers

Camera By
Justin Biggers
Beth Mayo

Camera Assistance
Brandon Cecil

Production Assistance
Brandon Cecil
Benjamin Lawson
Julius Leak

Director of Photography
Justin Biggers

Boom Operator
Emily Morelli

Lighting Design
Justin Biggers

Lighting Grips
Justin Biggers
Beth Mayo

Set Design
Justin Biggers

Set Dressing
Justin Biggers
Beth Mayo
Brandon Cecil
Julius Leak
Hannah Johnson

Makeup Provided By
Beth Mayo

Justin Biggers
Beth Mayo
Heather Walker

Costume Design
Justin Biggers

Extra Wardrobe Provided By
Justin Biggers
Benjamin Lawson
Ruwani Opatha
James Z. Godwin
Heather Walker
Derek Hartman
Emily Morelli

Justin Biggers

Tarp Crew
Sam Cone
Derek Hartman
Benjamin Lawson
Rob Manuel
Beth Mayo
Heather Walker

Props Provided By
Justin Biggers
Beth Mayo
Emily Morelli
Heather Walker

Special Thanks
Papa John's
Ram Cafe Managment
Top of Lenoir Managment
Brandon Cecil, for coming back
Dr. Pepper, a great souce of caffiene
Laura Shew, for being a last-minute stand-in
Erinn Brunell, for being a last-minute stand-in
Hannah Johnson, for agreeing at the last minute
Derek Hartman and Virginia Dozier, for the reshoot
Brandon Cecil again, for having to deal with me as much as he did
everyone who froze during the graveyard scene
everyone that spent money to help make this episode

Filmed on Location in
Chapel Hill, NC

copyright 2002 unc student television
story copyright 2001 justin biggers

m u s i c

Sleep Now (edit) - Hughes Hall
Everybody Gets Together in a Term - Shiro Sagisu
Shoichiro Arima I (edit)- Shiro Sagisu
Scarlet, piano solo (edit) - Junko Iwao
Nothing Else Matters - Apocalyptica
Fade to Black (edit) - Apocalyptica
Pray - Apocalyptica
People Seized with Life - Yasunori Mitsuda
Lux Aeterna (edit) - Clint Mansell
Coffey on the Mile - Thomas Newman
The Orange Man - James Newton
Howard Grace (edit) - Hajime Mizoguchi
Don't Fear the Reaper (mix)- Apollo 440

l o c a t i o n s

Top of Lenoir Dining Hall
Grimes Dorm
Spencer Dorm
101 Winston Dorm
306 Alderman Dorm
UNC Arboretum
Frank Porter Graham Student Union
Room 212, Student Union
111 Carrol Hall
Basment Study Lounge, Winston Dorm
UNC-CH graveyard gazebo
The Great Hall, Student Union
McAlistor's restaurant
Ram Cafe, Lenoir Dining Hall
Cobb Parking Lot
UNC-STV studio
UNC graveyard

i n t e r e s t i n g  f a c t s

- The episode's trailer has a nod to Darkness Falls episode Blue, with its roll-in shot of Death in the library. In another take of this same shot, actress Heather Walker raised her arms in a similar gesture to Clarrisa Shepard's in Blue.

- The script was based on a story originally written by Justin Biggers in fall of 2001 and later adapted to a script for submission to Darkness Falls.

- The scenes in Lenoir Dining Hall were actually done over two different shooting days, a couple of weeks apart.

- The clear liquid which Alaster gets in the dining hall actually came out of the orange juice dispenser, and theoretically was supposed to be orange juice.

- Producer Beth Mayo is seen in her role as wearing a Dream t-shirt (from the Sandman comic series by Neil Gaiman) as a visual gag.

- During Alaster's voiceover in the Arboretum, he is seen listening to a MP3 player which switches from track 25 to 26. This visual gag is a nod to the Japanese anime series Shin Seki Evangelion (English title - Neon Genesis Evangelion), in which the main character is always listening to a walkman that plays either track 25 or 26 (which were numbers of the finale episodes of the series). The additional joke is that both tracks were the Darkness Falls theme song, "Pretty When You Cry" by VAST, edited by series creator M. Wilson Burdorff and then renamed before they were put on the player (you can tell by looking at the total length of track 25 before it switches to track 26).

- The shoot of Alaster's room actually took place in writer/director Justin Biggers' dorm room. The room seen in the episode looks nothing like what Justin's room normally does, as he converted the entire room into a set for the shoot, removing all unwanted items and decorations, and restocking the book shelf with particularly chosen titles.

- The books on top of Meg's microwave were supposed to be ones that Alaster had loaned her - Group Dynamics and Wittgenstein's On Certainty.

- The figurine seen standing on top of the TV in Meg's room is the character Death from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.

- The books visible on the desktop during the Apathy trial sequence are Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Franz Kafka's The Trial. These same books, along with The Denial of Death and The Concept of Anxiety appear in the episode's trailer.

- The Pride trial sequence contains a nod to the Japanese anime series Shoujo Kakumei Utena (English title Revolutionary Girl Utena) with its blue books lining the desks in the background.

- During the shooting for the Anger trial sequence, cameraman Justin Biggers was almost squashed by the table that actor Ben Lawson overturned for the scene. Fortunately, the camera escaped unharmed.

- During shooting for the Lust trial sequence, the wax from the candles on top of Emily Morelli's microwave overflowed, running down the side of the refrigerator below and staining it an interesting rainbow color.

- The graveyard scene was done as the last day of shooting for the episode. With a Murphey's Law predictability, it rained. However, this was the only day possible to get all actors in the same place at the same time before actor Sam Cone had to leave for a semester abroad program. To that end, the scene was shot in freezing rain, using a tarp that director Justin Biggers owned to protect the camera. Actors not on screen worked as "tarp crew," holding the tarp up over the camera to protect it as well as keep themselves dry, and walked around the graveyard holding the tarp up as the camera moved position.

- During the graveyard scene, a tombstone with the name Walker (actor Heather Walker's last name) can be seen in the background.

- Actress Heather Walker had already been intending to dye her hair white previous to the episode, and so waited until all other shoots with the first form of Death with dark hair were finished before doing so.

- The two parts of the title of the episode "Graveyard Path" and "Way of the Gods" are both derived from the Japanese word "shinto" and its Chinese cognate "shendao". In Japanese, the word refers to the indigenous religion of Japan, and its literal translation would be rendered as "gods' path/way." An obscure Chinese meaning is any pathway leading to a tomb marker. The phrase has a third meaning of referring in general to any mystical system. The episode's title format is also a nod to Neon Genesis Evanglion, which had two titles per episode.

- Despite what you may have thought, Alaster's name was not derived from Aleister Crowley. Brownie points for those who guessed that though.

- The Avatar characters were partially derived from three different sources: the Seven Deadly Sins, the Endless of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, and the sefirot of Kabbalah. The color of their second form outfits were derived from the tables of correspondences from Crowley's 777.

- The Trial was derived in parts from the Magical Theatre of Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf, the Dueling Arena and the Consultation Room from Shoujo Kakumei Utena, and the Instrumentality Project from Shin Seki Evangelion.

- Despite what you might think, the words that appear throughout the episode in different languages (the Avatar markings, the Trial plaques) are not crucial to understanding any of the episode's main themes. They're mostly for visual effect and differentiation, as well as symbolic value. The kanji (Chinese/Japanese characters) marking the Avatar's foreheads were used to simply further indicate that the Avatars, while being part of a continuum, were also distinct from one another. Kanji was chosen as it would be recognized as having specific meanings, but ones apparently different from one another.

- Shooting for the episode monopolized an outlandish 8 reels, outstripping all previous Darkness Falls episodes and competing with the hour long "Heir to the Throne" for reel usage. Director Justin Biggers explains this as being due to trying to avoid taking shots from too few angles. Producer Beth Mayo explained it as being due to the director's insanity. Actors were too busy trying to cope with long shooting days to bother devoting time to theorizing such a minor detail.